No one really likes criticism. Like a visit to the dentist, it’s part of life. You don’t want it, but know it’s needed. The right kind of criticism can help us grow personally and professionally. The wrong kind can leave us in a fetal position quivering in a corner. How do we know what to listen to and what to jettison?
Consider The Source. How much value do you put on that person’s opinion when it comes to other issues? Believe it or not, some people actually want to help us grow. If they have enough courage to come to you and share – listen to them. However, if their comment comes in the wake of a grudge or a “put down” – drop it like a disease.
The 24 Hour Test. Most criticism when it is first received is like a slap to the face; it takes time for the sting to leave. How do you feel after 24 hours? Does it make sense? Do you see their point? Or, does it still leave your gut in a knot? If, after 24 hours, you see value – act on it. If you still need your antacid, flush the criticism away.
Take The Long Look. No one on planet earth has a complete 360 view of themselves and the situation. At best, we have a 180. We need others who can help us see the full picture. Does the criticism help toward obtaining the long term objective? If so, put it into practice and leave your feelings somewhere else. If it isn’t going to help you or the project or the team in the long run, put it in the round file cabinet next to your desk.
When it comes to criticism, remember that both a chainsaw and a scalpel cut deep. The chainsaw is designed to rip apart while the scalpel is designed to heal. Listen to the one holding the scalpel. Tell the person holding the chainsaw to climb another tree.